Hidden in the labyrinth of honeycombs are some of Nature’s most powerful healing tonics. From the propolis harvested by ancient Greeks to treat lesions, to the honey used in Ayurveda to relieve poor digestion, the health buzz around the bee hive is growing louder than ever as science unravels its mysteries.
More than a sweetener, the golden liquid has long been a treatment of choice for wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and infections. In fact, honey-coated bandages are now used in many hospitals and clinics because it speeds up recovery significantly, compared to conventional hydrogel. The key element in its antiseptic action is the protein defensin-1 which appears to remain effective even in cases of antibiotic resistance. Manuka honey, in particular, has been identified as a strong candidate against the superbug MRSA infection. In addition, honey is among the sweeter alternatives found to sour-tasting cough syrups and lozenges.
Known as a superfood, bee pollen contains all the essential amino acids in levels “five to seven times higher than those found in traditional high protein foods,” says a study published in the *Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences.* It’s packed with vitamins A, D, E, K, C, the complete B-complex, and bioflavonoids, specifically huge amounts of rutin. Rutin fortifies capillaries, benefiting individuals who are prone to bruising and bleeding. Pollen also consists of 15-percent lecithin, which promotes fat metabolism, reduces bad cholesterol, and increases healthy high-density lipoproteins (HDL), ultimately aiding weight loss.
Due to its chelating ability, pollen is used in integrative therapies for flushing out harmful chemicals and carcinogens from the body. In compassionate human cancer research, its intake has also demonstrated increased antibody production and stronger immune systems.
Used to seal gaps in beehives, propolis does more than protect the colony from the elements, it also prevents bacterial and fungal growth. Its colors range from brown to deep green, depending on the plant sources. However, the most superior propolis originates from the diverse and unpolluted ecosystem of Brazil’s rainforest. Not only does it have the highest concentration of the antioxidant Artepillin C (6-8 percent)–known for its potent antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-ulcer, and immunomodulating properties–the Brazilian Green Propolis retains the entire vegetal tissues of plant buds, thus enhancing adeeper assimilation of the nutrients into human cells.
Taken as a supplement, green propolis boosts the immune system, improves blood circulation, and protects against free radicals. As a topical agent, it treats burns, wounds, eczema, and acne.
Apitherapy or Bee Venom Therapy
More and more patients with MS, arthritis, migraines, back pain, herpes, and other conditions are turning to apitherapy, in which the affected area is either stung by live bees or injected with the venom, as an alternative remedy. Its efficacy lies primarily in the venom’s main component, the anti-inflammatory and pain-blocking peptides, adolapin and melittin, found to be 100 times more powerful than cortisone.
However, the bee toxin contains over 60 enzymes and amino acids, a complex biochemical cocktail that is believed to trigger the body’s natural healing process.